Your home’s deck and patio are more than just a place to house a grill. It’s also an outdoor entertainment area that deserves just as much respect and admiration as your living room. Especially if you are the kind of person who loves to have friends and family over to share a great meal.
All across the United States people take steps to upgrade their deck and patio areas with decorations, outdoor yard art, portable fire pits and attractive water features. While these things certainly are striking and can serve as conversation starters, there are still functional components that need to be included when designing a new concept for your deck or patio.
Outdoor lighting is one of the most popular ways to spruce up any outdoor entertainment space. The problem is that permanent light fixtures tend to cost a lot of money. They’re also the sort of thing you need to have a licensed contractor install. Depending on where you live, you might also need to have professionally installed outdoor lights inspected by the local building inspectors. If they don’t pass the grade, it can impact your homeowner’s insurance premium. If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, then you also might have to worry about someone complaining.
One of the best ways to upgrade your outdoor lighting is to use simple string lights. They tend to be very affordable, as well as moveable. Most come with some type of clips or you can discretely zip tie them in place. Just make sure that they are indeed rated to be “Outdoor” which means they are durable enough to survive a rainstorm or at least have some type of waterproof protective coating.
Where Can String Lights Be Placed?
You can install them in whatever configuration you want when you will be entertaining guests, then quickly change them to new locations for when it’s just you can the family. They’re a great way to:
Light A Walkway – Since most outdoor string lights can be interconnected, you can splay them out in long chains. If you have a patio or other outdoor entertainment space that is away from the outdoor lights of the house string lights can be used to help unfamiliar guests stay on the path.
Highlight Landscaping Features – Not all landscaping features come with their own lighting. Tastefully wrapping or placing string lights around a statue, water feature, or a retaining wall can add to the ambiance, as well as keeping unfamiliar guests from accidentally stumbling into them in the dark.
Light The Grill Area – Some patios and outdoor entertainment areas lack the proper lighting to safely cook a meal after the sun goes down. Even if there is some light offered by the house, it usually casts deep shadows that make it difficult to see what you’re cooking.
Light The Dining Area – It’s no secret that people eat first with their eyes. If you are going to be hosting an outdoor dinner party after the sun goes down, you want your guests to be able to see their food. String lights can be hung overhead, attached to a pergola, hung across an arbor, of even installed at the edge of the dining table.
Light The Entertainment Area – More than one beverage has been spilled thanks to poor lighting around a deck or patio. Since string lights are versatile, they can be mounted to cast light from multiple angles. Not only does this help people to see their surroundings, but it also mutes any deep shadows. It’s a great option for adding ambiance to a firepit area.
Illuminate An Umbrella, Pergola Or Gazebo – While there are some with built-in lights, most umbrellas, pergolas, and gazebos are devoid of any professional lighting. With some simple outdoor string lights and a few zip ties, you can quickly illuminate these areas to give guests a place to gather.
Will String Lights Attract Bugs?
There is a little bit of debate in the science, but LED string lights in particular tend to do very little to attract flying insects. It’s also worth noting that string lights can come in different colors, or with a colored protective coating that alters the shade of the light they give off. Red light tends to be the least attractive to insects.
Are String Lights Considered A Fire Hazard?
String Lights, and LED lights, in particular, tend to be very low wattage. This translates to a miniscule, or negligible amount of heat production. Manufacturers also make every effort to engineer string lights to be as safe as possible.
It’s really only if they are misused or abused that they can cause a sort or other problems. Even then, a lot of the best outdoor string lights have some type of small fuse built into them, which will trip if there’s ever a short in the line.
Can String Lights Be Used Indoors?
Just because they are rated for outdoor use, doesn’t mean that LED string lights can only be used outdoors. Thier low wattage and negligible heat make them a decent option for enhancing the indoor ambiance. They’re arguably a better option than the old Christmas lights some teenagers use to decorate their room.
Are There Different Types Of String Lights?
The flexibility and low wattage draw of string lights inspire a fair amount of creativity. This means they can be used in long overhead strands, placed as temporary ground lighting, or even hung in sheets.
Can String Lights Be Used For Outdoor Holiday Decorations?
LED string lights with a heavy-duty protective coating are arguably better for outdoor decorating than exterior rated traditional holiday lights. Many have built-in fuses that will only cause a partial failure if there’s a problem, whereas traditional lights if a single bulb goes out will usually wipe out a vast area of the lights. String lights also tend to hold up better to the caprices of cold northern weather. So, even when the summer ends, you don’t have to pack your BBQ string lights away. They can be repurposed to enhance a roofline or decorate the trees and bushes in your yard.
Our Favorite Outdoor String Lights
Honeywell LED Indoor/Outdoor 36' String Lights with Bluetooth Speakers
Lemontec Commercial Grade Outdoor String Lights with 15 Hanging Sockets
- Give your surrounding a whole new look- Whether it is cafe lightening or holiday lightening our heavy duty outside lights with black casing is the perfect accessory you`ve been missing! This string light features 15 clear 11-watt incandescent light bulb on a 48-foot long industrial strand.
- Ruggedly built to last- Our string lights are constructed with durable waterproof materials that won`t wear or tear as you use it continuously all year round.
Magictec LED Shatterproof String Lights Commercial Grade with 15 Hanging Sockets
1 used from $56.74
- CONSTRUCTED WITH PREMIUM WIRING MATERIALS: The SHATTERPROFF LED bulbs are hard to break, no matter how much rains or snows it won't sustain damages and will surely last for year-round of brightness. Our heavy-duty 48Ft power cord is tightly sealed and copper socket with IP65 waterproof that can withstand even the toughest conditions outside.
- HANG IT ANYWHERE - HASSLE-FREE INSTALLATION: The wire has built-in loops to easily put nail, hook, or rope. Hang it on walls, string it along a fence, drape it between poles, or line a pergola and hung on a tree branch, backyard gate and more.
Patio String Lights Outdoor - 32.8FT G40 Globe Led String Lights with 32 Glass Bulbs
- Connectable 35ft 30+2 Bulbs G40 Outdoor Patio Lights: Each of outdoor string lights G40 bulb build in 5 color led small lamp beads. Eco friendly led bulbs which more brighter, safer and energy efficient than others. 2 free bulbs are included inside the box for easy replacement at any time. IELECMG led outdoor string lights is connectable up to 2 sets maximum for a longer string lights to meet your needs.
Outdoors String Lights, iBesi 48FT RGB LED String Lights Waterproof
- 【Waterproof & Durable】Commercial grade heavy-duty wire, IP65 waterproof, iBesi string lights will last through rain, sun, wind, snow, and any weather condition. Flexible heavy-duty cord withstands the wear of indoor and outdoor use. Unbreakable acrylic bulbs can withstand a 12 ft drop and toughest weather condition. It has the advantages of strong waterproof, lightning protection, and impact. No breakage and frequent replacement.
American Flag Lights with 420 Super Bright LEDs
- 【Cool American Flag Light Effect for All Day Decoration】Display your patriotic spirit with this unique LED flag net lights. Great for Memorial Day, Independence day, 4th of july decorations, Christmas, festival , holiday , party, ceremony, and many other celebration occasions. This American Flag decor designed can be portable,suspended, laid, flexible to use, put on tree, vine, porch roof, bedroom window, balcony, wall, bringing warm and pleasant atmosphere to your home or party.
4 Pack Firework Lights 120 led Copper Wire Starburst String Lights
3 used from $22.49
- 120 LED Copper Wire Firework Lights: The fireworks decorative lights design as a bouquet shape, include 60 branches copper wires in a bunch and 120 LED micro lights. Starburst lights easily bent and made into any shapes, perfect decorative lights for birthday, led fairy string lights, led christmas lights, party lights
- Battery Operated String Lights With Remote: The battery powered string lights required 4 x AA Batteries (Batteries NOT Included). And the fairy lights with remote control, support for up to 10-15 meters effective receiving range to control 10 brightness and 8 different modes (steady/blinking/flash/smooth/strobe, etc).`
BlueFire Upgraded 50cm 10 Tubes 540 LED Meteor Shower Rain Light
- 【SECURITY】 IP65 waterproof low voltage UL Certification plug-in transformer, which can prevent users from electric shock, short circuit causing fires. (NOTE: Please connect the two white arrows on the lead connector face to face, otherwise it won't light up. Refer to the last picture)
- 【BRIGHTNESS】SUPER BRIGHT SMD2835 LED chips (instead of cheap dim 3528 LED chips) provide 360 degree shining angles, which makes the falling rain lights MUCH BRIGHTER and BEAUTIFUL. The light of every bulb turns on and out one by one in sequence and quickly just like meteor shower or falling snow in the night sky.
4PCs Solar Torch Garden Pathway Light with Vivid Dancing Flickering Flames
- VIVID FLICKERING FLAME DESIGN: Formed by 96 LED lamp beads, safe realistic alternative flames cast a soft, mood-enhancing, pleasant glow which provide a perfect campfire atmosphere.
- THREE LIGHTING MODES: The only company who sells three lights modes which are Torch Mode, Breath Mode, Lighting Mode.
- ECO-FRIENDLY: It runs on high-end Monocrystalline silicon solar panels to charge. With auto on/off from dusk to dawn.
Twinkle Star 100 LED 49 FT Star String Lights
6 used from $14.59
- High Quality: 100 LED 49 FT star shaped string lights with solid construction plastic material, adapter powered. 30V low voltage string lights with UL 588 certified for safety use. Length between lights : 3.9 Inches/ 10cm, power line: 5m/16.5ft. light string: 10m/33ft, length totally: 15m/49ft approx.
- Extendable- LED Star String Lights with Male and Female Safe Plug, could be extended to a maximum of 10 light chains, from 49.2 ft to 344.5 ft (maximum 1000 LED). Please note that the transformer is IP 44 waterproof, so it can meet normal use outside but not enough to put under water directly.
20 LED Pineapple String Lights
- [Package includes]: 2 Packs pineapple string lights (each pack contains 10 LED pineapple lights), with warm white and soft lighting to create an ideal atmosphere!
- [Size and material]:16 feet wire, with 20 pineapple-shaped LED lights. The wire is made of high-quality silver-plated copper, thin and flexible, and can be bent easily. Light color: warm white.
- [Battery-powered]:The string lights with waterproof battery box, low-key, easy to hide. Requires 2 AA batteries (batteries are not included in the set). Portable and lightweight, pineapple string lights can be placed anywhere without a power socket.
Northlight 10-Count Corona Extra Beer Bottle Summer Patio Lights
- Yellow Beer Bottle String Lights With White Wire
- If one bulb burns out the rest will stay lit
- Comes with replacement bulbs and spare fuse
- UL certified and approved for indoor and outdoor use
- Total lighted length measures 11.3 feet long
3D Beer Mug String Lights St Patrick's Day
1 used from $16.11
- Battery-operate, requires 3 AA batteries (not included), remote capable(remote included)
- 2 4 6 8 Hours Build-in timer provides automatic shut off. Build in and remote capable timer function(if you turn it on under 6 hours timer mode at 3 PM, it will turn off at 9 PM and turn it on again 3 pm the next day)
- You can chose flickery mode and control the intensity of light, rang of remote control is around 5 meters
Chinese Lantern String Lights
- 【Solar powered 】: These solar garden lanterns will be automatically charged about 6-8 hours, and automatically turned on about 8-12 hours at night. No need to change batteries. ( Please note: Please do push the on switch first before putting the lights out for charging.)
- 【30 Lanterns】: There are 30 LEDs and 30 nylon shades.It's beautiful for garden decoration even in the day.
- 【IP65 waterproof 】: Our solar outdoor string lights are made of tarpaulin and are 100% waterproof, perfect for your garden outdoor party and wedding decoration.